Internet etiquette, also known as Internetiquette or netiquette, is an important aspect of being an engaged social media contributor. The internet police won’t be knocking on your door and you won’t be fined from the bureau of digital security (neither of those organizations actually exist..), but there are many “unspoken” rules for how one should interact on social media.
As we mentioned in a previous blog (What Is Content Marketing and How to Create it Successfully), you want to be relevant and purposefully stay top of mind with your content marketing. We will be sharing some internet etiquette guidelines for your dealership, which will ensure that you are on the right track for successfully engaging with your customers and audience.
HELLO, HOW MAY I HELP YOU?
Try to avoid using all caps in emails, posts and comments. Many people view this as a form of “internet screaming”. Avoid using multiple exclamation marks at the end of every sentence (!!!), as that too can be confused with internet screaming.
If you’re wondering what exactly “internet screaming” is, it is would sound something like, COME IN AND SEE OUR NEW TRUCKS! When someone was reading that typed comment, they would read it in a yelling tone of voice, in their head. This is, in often cases, not viewed as a professional voice to use within the social media world.
Try something more along the lines of, “Come in and see our new trucks!” It reads like a calm, cool and collected social media tone of voice.
Keep It Brief
Most people go to the internet to save time. One of Twitter’s notable features is the very fact that their posts only allow 140 character updates (including spaces and punctuation). This limit of only 140 characters has forcefully refocused people’s conversations on social media.
With Facebook, it is suggested that you keep your posts shorter in order to achieve higher engagement. FUN FACT: Facebook allows the use of 63,206 characters in a post. However, though you have the ability to share more characters than Twitter, 40 characters is considered the most effective number according to a study by Jeff Bullas. He measured engagement of posts, defined by "like" rate and comment rate, and the ultra-short 40-character posts received 86% higher engagement than others. The next most popular set: Posts with 80 characters or fewer received 66% higher engagement.
We suggest that you practice honing in your skills of keeping your posts brief, concise and informative. You can be funny, witty and charming, but there is a time a place for that type of social media engagement. When responding to customers, it is often times not the place for such an interaction.
Below is an example of how we share posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We summarized what the post was about and we gave a call to action to engage our audience.
Here is an example of how we shared that same post on Twitter. We kept is short, concise and used simple and easily searchable hashtags. Of course, there are many other types of hashtags you could be using, and we will get into that with another blog post, but for this post, we will stick with these simple examples.
A very important rule of thumb to follow; never ignore your customers on social media. In recent years, social media has been viewed as a place for people to vent their complaints about a business for various reasons.
To list a few examples: bad service, rude employees, nasty food, damaged goods, etc. The list goes on.. But people also take to social media to share their happy experiences too.
Having a happy customer is definitely something to be proud of. That means you’re doing something right. Whether someone had good service, they’re inquiring about a service, loved their service, or all of the above, it is important to be responsive to both happy and angry types of customer engagement.
Angry customer with a bad dealership response:
Happy customer with an appropriate dealership response:
Leave Your Baggage at the Door
You are not your business or your job. Simply put, do not bring your personal life into your dealership. Protect your personal information by tightening up your personal Facebook account privacy settings. Remember, anything you post on the internet is out there for the world to see. The Happy Customer and Angry Customer examples above are exactly what the world would see if you spoke like that to your customers… and the same goes for ignoring them. It looks bad! Don’t do it.
For your dealership’s reputation sake, the customer is always right. If someone is angry and disgruntled, we highly recommend always trying to reframe the conversation and take it offline. Redirect them to a private message or an email exchange where you can ask for their personal number and call the customer to sort out the situation professionally.
Before You Click “SEND” Reread Each Sentence to the End
It is always a good idea to get into the habit of rereading everything you type on social media before you press send/enter. Especially if you feel heated and angry from a customer’s response.
There is a famous quote from a long-ago poet named Ambrose Bierce; “speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will always regret.” Simply put, don’t speak when you are angry or you will likely regret it.
We think that this applies to practically everything in life, but in this case, especially so for a dealerships social media. If you receive an angry complaint online, it is recommended that you take a break from the computer screen before angrily responding to a customer. A study from Harvard Men’s Health Watch suggests that taking a quick walk before responding to someone’s social media anger can really help reframe a situation. Once you get the blood flowing through your body from a quick walk, you are able to come back to the computer with fresh eyes and possibly a new perspective on how to handle the situation.
Also, if it is late at night, do not respond to dealership social media conversations unless your business promises 24/7 social media coverage. If you are extremely tired, it’s probably best to wait until the next morning to respond with a fresh and positive take on the day.
Learning Internet Acronyms
We don’t think you will come across the need to know acronyms for your dealership very often, but we want to provide you with a quick crash course of acronyms that you might see. There are hundreds of acronyms out there, and it is important to be aware that they exist. We don’t suggest that you use these with your customer engagement on social media, but you may see them from your audience.
BTW: by the way
TTYL: talk to you later
LOL: laugh out loud
POV: point of view
SFW: safe for work
NSFW: not safe for work
JK: just kidding
Prepared with this knowledge, we believe that you can successfully engage with your audience online. If you have any additional tips, tricks or customer engagement questions, please comment below.
To learn more about the LotVantage handsfree social media management tool, contact us here.